|March 1st, 2013|
|5||Round Robin||10:00am||BLR - CZE||5 - 1 (1 - 0)||Final||x 2|
It took more than a day, but in the end Belarus earned its second win of the Hockey World League Round 2 tournament in Valencia, Spain with a 5-1 victory over the Czech Republic. Just over 24 minutes of the game was played yesterday under very soggy conditions before the match had to be suspended, setting up today’s conclusion.
Belarus held a 1-0 lead at the end of yesterday’s play as they seemed to adapt to the wet pitch faster than the Czechs before the game was called. Ryta Batura scored the lone marker of the day for #21 Belarus. Today’s action opened up with the Czechs playing better hockey in the drier conditions.
Belarus failed to capitalize on a handful of penalty corner chances, giving the Czechs space to work their way into the game. Adela Bizova gave the Czechs hope when she struck with the 1-1 goal with 25 minutes left in the second half. But the celebration was short-lived as Bakura, celebrating her 26th birthday, stepped up and fired in her second goal of the game five minutes later to restore the one-goal lead.
Belarus’ Yuliya Mikheichyk sealed the win with two goals coming five minutes single digits left on the clock to put any thought of an upset out the Czechs’ minds. Captain Alisia Piotukh got in on the fun as she scooped a blooper penalty corner goal in the net in the last minute of play. The goals powered Belarus through to the 4-1 win, a deceivingly lopsided score for a well-fought game by the Czechs.
Belarus, which entered the tournament as the four-seeded team among the five entrants, now sits surprisingly atop the standings with seven points in three games. But the field is very close in this one with both Spain and Ireland nipping at the heels of Belarus. Italy is also in the hunt for a top finish, while only the Czech Republic is out of contention with three losses in three outings.